God has called me to live a life on mission, and for me that includes a call to full-time ministry. But I have run away from what God was calling me to do and have actually spent my entire career up until this point working in healthcare administration. As I’ve grown more spiritually mature, God has been more persistent in the call to make the name of Jesus known to all and make disciples through vocational ministry. I want every moment of my day to be spent furthering the Kingdom.
While my wife and I are in a hard season of waiting for God to reveal a full-time ministry opportunity, we are trying to prepare ourselves for the next season. And I believe God has used the secular workplace as a means of preparing me. I’ve learned a lot about intentionally living on mission in a secular workplace. For others who find themselves in a similar environment, here are four ways I’ve tried to put that into practice. I pray they will be an encouragement to you.
Let the Word dwell richly. I am constantly praying at work. I pray to be a strong witness, to keep my heart pure and guarded (Psalm 4:23). I work to put others’ needs before mine. I have lots of, “What can I do for you today?” and, “Is there anything you need?” types of conversations. I keep little reminders around my office of Scripture that speaks to my heart, reminders to view all people as made in the image of our Creator. I pray to watch what I say—and this is a hard one! Out of the overflow of my heart, my mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Thus, I spend substantial time filling my heart with things that are wholesome (Col. 3:16). The two most practical ways do this during my workday are: be in the Word often, such as during breaks and lunch, and play uplifting worship music in my office.
Fight discouragement. We live in a world clouded by darkness and evil, and my life in the secular business place has worn me out. In the business world, I can’t settle disagreements by reminding them what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2. When there’s a budget shortfall, I can’t go loaves-and-fishes style (John 6) and fulfill everyone’s bottom line. Recently, I was a bundle of nerves just asking for time off take a mission trip. I’ve worked for Christians who did not reflect the love of Jesus, producing no fruit. Yet, these environments are still an opportunity to share. There will be things about my life and your life that resonate with these individuals, and we might just be the watering their seed needs to produce fruit. Remember, while Paul tells the Corinthians that only God makes the seed grow, the one who waters will also be rewarded! (1 Cor. 3:8)
In the day-to-day workflow of business, there are numerous opportunities for the enemy to find a stronghold.
Be aware of the devil’s schemes. “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world” (1 Pet. 5:8-9).
In the day-to-day workflow of business, there are numerous opportunities for the enemy to find a stronghold. He will lie in wait and use anything he can to distract me from the mission. If I succumb by engaging in office gossip or allowing money to become an idol, significant damage can, and will, be done to my character. If I want people to know that Jesus is my King, I have to be different. I have to be on guard at all times. I counter this by being faithful to my quiet times in the Word. Seeking strength in Scripture and guidance in prayer keeps me alert to the devil’s schemes.
Care through prayer. I cannot deny my passion, my calling, and my mission. I want people to experience the fullness of life with Jesus. When my various workplaces have shut down conversations about Jesus, I’ve begun to care through prayer. I simply show interest in people and their lives and listen to the things they say. By doing this, I find opportunities to care for their needs through prayer. When, through regular conversation, I hear signs of brokenness in their life—maybe someone is sick or stressed, or they’re experiencing something difficult—and the timing is right, I ask them if I can pray for that need. I’m careful about the circumstances, as I don’t intend to make anyone uncomfortable or create a human resources issue. But ultimately, contrary to what the business world’s bottom-line goals are, my bottom line is seeing lives changed.
Living a full life—every minute, hour, and day—on mission is always the goal. I strive to demonstrate Christ’s love through word and deed and be his light in the dark world. I pray that at the end of the day, people will know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m a Jesus-follower, no matter where I am. While I wait for God’s next move, I’ll embrace this season of preparation, living on mission in the secular workplace, and anticipate what God has in store next.